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allusions by way of leading up to the subject itself. Mr. Chairman, you know, and any man who is familier with parliamentary procedure or the proper procedure of either branch of the City Government knows, that when a branch, whether of the State or City Government, takes a vote upon a certain question, has recorded itself, whether it be in the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature or in a branch of the City Government, the principle has always been well established that committees appointed to consider the subject should be representative of the express desire of the branches which they represent, properly representative of the sentiment in these branches. That is the question that I think I am properly discussing here, as leading up to the question itself later on. Although I may hurt the feelings of my friend sitting on the other side of the room, still it is a fair criticism, as leading up to a discussion of the main question. Now, I don’t care to go any further into that question, Mr. Chairman, because I have said enough on it. I have expressed my views as to the fairness of the thing, and I don’t care to say any more. Now, on the question of municipal ownership I assure you that I am not going to trouble you very much. But I simply want to say, for your information, that in 1897 there was introduced into the Legislature by Mr. Estey of Ward 23, West Roxbury, a bill something like this : “Chapter 370, of the Acts of the year 1891, and the Acts in amendment or addition thereto, shall not be so construed as to prevent or prohibit any city or town operating an electric plant in any of its public buildings and furnishing electricity therefrom to any other public building, park or common; but any city or town may operate an electric light plant and furnish electricity therefrom as aforesaid.” That was introduced through and supported by the Mayor of Boston, then Mr. Quincy, and his corporation counsel, Mr. Andrew J. Bailey. It was stated before the Committee on Manufactures then, now the Committee on Public Lighting as far as these matters are concerned, that if that bill was passed the city intended to erect a municipal plant in the basement of this building ; that, under the provisions of that act, it would put a wire across or make a connection with the old Court House; that it would make a connection with the Registry of Deeds, that it would make a connection with the new Court House, and from there make a connection with Boston Common, the Public Garden, going through Commonwealth avenue and the park system. That was objected to by the Edison Electric Light Company. That was the only sincere effort that was ever made by a mayor of this city to try municipal ownership. What did they ask? Simply the privilege of lighting their own buildings, crossing their own highways, not interfering with anybody's else business and not lighting any private buildings or any private property. That was objected to by Mr. Everett W. Burdett, whose representative I saw sitting here a short while ago, but who, since my opening, has left the chamber. He was evidently sent here to find out what was going on and report at headquarters. Now, Mr. Chairman, all I want to say upon this question is this, that I believe these corporations, controlling these socalled public utilities, have been the source of the greatest corruption in the history of this whole country — in nation, in state, in city. You may talk about graft, but whenever that cry is heard in legislative halls or in municipal buildings, in nine cases out of ten it is in connection with some project fostered by a public service corporation. If there were no bribe-givers there would be no takers, and if there were none of these corporations around with their agents there would be very little talk about corruption. Now, I am going to admit that public utilities, like private business concerns, depend for their success entirely upon whether they are honestly or dishonestly administered. Every man will admit that no private business can be successful if it is not honestly carried on, and it is hard to make a success of municipal lighting or anything else that might be municipalized if it is not honestly administered. We start out upon that theory. But where is the justice — and I just want to quote a few examples to you — where is the justice of making a contract by the Edison Company with Houghton & Dutton, for instance, and charging them two or three cents a kilowatt hour for electricity, and charging you, sir, if you hire an office in the same building, the Albion Building, twenty cents a kilowatt hour for electricity served by the same wire, coming from the same service, within the same hours and from the same plant” This is one example of the unfairness with which these people do business to-day. Go and ask them, if you will, find out if you can, what the Henry Siegel Company to-day is paying the Edison Company for electricity, and you will find that it is close to two cents a kilowatt hour. Go home to your house, sir, in the Back Bay and examine your electric lighting bill, if you burn electricity in your house, and see what you pay for it, and then you will have an example of whether this business should be taken over by the city and run in the interest of its taxpayers. Now, I might talk upon this question all night, but I said in the beginning that I was not going to give it serious consideration here. I advise every honest, sincere and ardent advocate of municipal ownership present here to-night, who believes in it, and believes in it honestly, to go home, to ignore this investigation altogether, because I say that an investigation started unfairly cannot terminate fairly, and that is my position here to-night. As one who started in, as a member of the City Government, willing to give this subject all the time that I could — and I am not a Socialist, I am not an Anarchist ; I am a business man myself, a taxpayer and an owner of property — I would like to see this question threshed out fairly. But when you have wealthy towns like Concord, Winchester and Milton, and places of that kind, where the town meetings are controlled by wealthy and influential men, taking up the question of municipal lighting and voting to appropriate money for municipal lighting plants, and then when you see in the City of Boston the presiding officer of both branches of the City Government — I mean of one branch particularly — turn his face against public sentiment upon this question, refusing to acknowledge the majority feeling of the members of the lower branch, then I say that this investigation starts unfairly at the outset. As I have said, Mr. Chairman, I do not propose to talk on this question as seriously as I would if I expected that this subject was to receive what it ought to receive — fair, impartial and thorough consideration. Thanking you, gentlemen, for permitting me to criticize the motives that actuated the appointment of the Committee, I again advise the friends of municipal ownership to withdraw and ignore the investigation altogether. Mr. JEAN P. NICKERSON. — Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask Mr. Kiley a question. The CHAIRMAN. — What is your name, please ? Mr. NICKERSON.— Jean P. Nickerson. The CHAIRMAN. — First, does any member of the Committee desire to ask Mr. Kiley a question? (No response.) Does any gentleman present desire to ask Mr. Kiley a question ? Mr. NICKERSON.— I do, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. — Do you represent anybody, Mr. Nickerson 2
Mr. NICKERSON. — I represent the United Improvement Association of Boston, and I have a request to make of this Committee after those in favor of the proposition get through. The CHAIRMRN. — What is this Improvement Association ? State something about its purposes? Mr. NICKERSON.— I have, Mr. Chairman, prepared something that will show exactly what this Association is and whom I represent, and I will submit it afterwards. The CHAIRMAN. — Cannot you state it now, briefly and succinctly, so that we can understand it 2 Mr. NICKERSON.— It is composed of delegates from the Citizens’ Improvement Associations of Boston — I don’t say of all, but a large number. The CHAIRMAN. — And do you represent them in a professional capacity, or as a member? Mr. NICKERSON. — I represent them as chairman of a committee specially appointed for the purpose. Alderman CURLEY. — Mr. Chairman, as a member of this Committee, I object to questions being asked by anybody but a member of the Committee. It is not customary in other legislative bodies, and I don’t think it should be permitted here. The CHAIRMAN. — I should rule, subject to vote of the Committee, if you desire to have it taken, that, in my opinion at least, it is the desire of the Committee that there should be the fréest discussion, and free discussion can be most readily obtained by the free asking of questions. There may be persons present in the room, interested on one side or the other, who desire to ask questions; and I, for one, should be very glad to hear them freely asked and freely answered. I think the Committee want the fullest discussion, and I think that is one way of obtaining it. Alderman CURLEY. — Mr. Chairman, I shall offer a motion that only members of the Committee ask questions. Mr. KILEY. — Mr. Chairman, if I may be permitted to speak, I will say that I am willing to answer any questions; that I appeared upon this question before the Committee on Public Lighting of the Legislature, where I was asked many questions by members of the committee as well as by spectators; that I was glad to answer them and they seemed glad to have me, and I shall be glad to answer them now. The CHAIRMAN. — Alderman Curley has made a motion that the Committee should consider the propriety of excluding questions by persons not members of the Committee. Alderman LINEHAN. — Mr. Chairman, before that motion is put to a vote I would like to ask Alderman Curley what his reason is for that motion ?
Alderman CURLEY. — Mr. Chairman, I have served on committees of the Legislature where sessions of a similar character have been held, and it has never been customary in my experience to permit of outside interrogation by anybody. In committee meetings of the City Council I never knew it to be allowed. I don’t think it should be here. Alderman LINEHAN. — Mr. Chairman, I desire to ask the gentleman why it should not be allowed 2 Alderman CURLEY. — Mr. Chairman, that is a pretty difficult question to answer. I realize, in the first place, that perhaps the strongest argument in favor of allowing it would be the fact that it is the desire of the Committee to obtain as much information pro and con as it possibly can upon this question. But I question the propriety of opening up an avenue for a line of questioning of this kind, for any and all questions that anybody might desire to put to any gentleman who addresses this Committee. There is serious objection and danger, in the case of any person who appears here, either in favor of municipal ownership or in opposition to it, from having each and every statement made by him subject to questioning by each and every person present. It is going to lead to a great deal of confusion and delay. I realize that it is not the desire of the Committee to hasten this work, but I do think it should be carried on with some kind of method, on some kind of a proper basis. . Alderman LINEHAN.— Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself I must say that I consider the statement almost as remarkable as the motion. In the statement the alderman says that if questions are allowed by others than the Committee, or if other than members of the Committee are allowed to ask questions, it might open up an avenue of questions that the Committee has no desire to hear. If there is anything that will open up any argument and shed any light on the question, that is what we are here for, to hear it and find it out. I served as a member of the Legislature for two years, and I served on committees of the Legislature, and appeared before committees of the Legislature, and never, to my recollection — and my memory is as good as the average — have I ever known an instance where any citizen was denied the right to ask any question, provided it was a proper question to ask. Mr. NOONAN.— Mr. Chairman, seeing that this discussion has come up, and as I am considered one of those gentleman who are not fit to serve on this Committee because of my attitude in the City Government, I desire to say now that I hope we will have the freest discussion, that all questions that can be asked by people present at these hearings will be